I’ve been using the Samsung Galaxy 5 (i5503) for more than a week now and the overall experience was really great”¦ for a small smartphone that is. In fact, I find it more enjoyable to use than the Android 1.6 Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 which I was previously using.
The Galaxy 5 i5503 is probably the cheapest branded Android phone out there. If you want to see the specs compared to other smartphones in its class, you might want to read this post.
Read on for our review of this little Android smartphone that could.
The Samsung Galaxy 5 doesn’t look like a smartphone at all. In fact, people often mistake it for just another Samsung Corby phone. But it’s not just another Corby phone, it’s a Corby on steroids!
The plastic feel makes this one cheap-looking but very light phone. It has a glossy finish that attracts fingerprints like nobody’s business. There’s a chrome bar around the phone to add some sense of style.
On top is just the 3.5mm audio jack. On the left side is the volume control that also doubles as the control for camera zoom. Beside it is the micro USB port. At the back you can see the lens for its 2mp fixed-focus camera.
For the main buttons, the Galaxy 5 combines the typical Android buttons (Menu, Home, Back and Search) with the 3 Corby buttons (Call, D-pad, End Call/Sleep) That totals to 7 buttons which is a bit of an overkill for a small smartphone. It’s even confusing for me at times. I often mistake the Sleep button with the Cancel or Back button and vice versa.
One thing of note here is the location of the microSD slot which is at the side when you take off the back panel. With this placement, you don’t have to turn off and take out the battery just to access your microSD card.
With its 2.8-inch capacitive touchscreen, it is the smallest screen I’ve seen on an Android phone. With its small screen comes a small display resolution at only 240 x 320 pixel compared to the 320 x 480 resolution of phones with 3-inch screens.
Despite the small screen resolution, the display doesn’t look bad at all. In fact, it looks a little better than the HTC Wildfire who has the same display resolution on a 3.2″ screen. Do note that it doesn’t do multi-touch but it supports Samsung’s Live wallpapers.
Just like other small Android phones out there, it will have problem with apps not made for a small screen. I always use Chomp SMS as my messaging app and due to the small screen, the buttons on it are cut off.
The processor on the Galaxy 5 is an ARM 600MHz which is very adequate for running the Android 2.1 OS. However, you might experience speed problems with nifty Android games (like Angry Bird) with the lack of some sort of graphics accelerator.
Aside from that, the browser, social networking apps, UI navigation and other phone features run perfectly on the Galaxy 5.
For some reason though, it just wouldn’t connect on my D-Link WiFi router when my other wireless devices can. I was able to use the WLAN at the malls though for convenient and free internet.
Major problems people experience on a small touchscreen phone is typically the keyboard. The Galaxy 5 has a QWERTY keypad for both portrait and landscape mode. What’s good about this keypad is that numbers and symbols can easily be used without switching to a different keypad.
What’s even great about the Galaxy 5 keyboard is the Swype feature. Swype is the fastest way to compose messages on a touchscreen keypad by just tracing your finger over the letters and letting the phone predict your word for you. Pretty handy if you keep on hitting the wrong letters due to its small screen.
For Tagalog words, you need to add the words in the dictionary simply by typing it normally before you can Swype them. I cannot highly stress how helpful this feature is especially on phones with a small display.
Camera and video feature is pretty basic and image results are pretty consistent for a 2 megapixel camera. Basically, you don’t want to use it too much if you aim to impress your friends with beautiful photos.
Here are some sample shots:
It’s not that great but good enough for Facebook photos which you can easily upload once you add your Facebook account on the phone.
Android smartphones are not known for their long battery life. Usually, on high-end phones the battery lasts for only 1 to 2 days on normal usage. On the Galaxy 5, I was able to use it for 4 days with WiFi on before having to charge it. It can probably last for 3 days if you have Data and Push always on.
Despite its plasticky-cheap feel and small screen, I still recommend the Samsung Galaxy 5 especially for those starting with Android. With its price, you don’t have to spend much just in case Android phones just won’t work with you.
I will leave you to discover the joy of having your Google accounts and social network sites integrated on the phone so you can easily sync calendar, mail and photos under the Google umbrella. With the Galaxy 5, you won’t have any problem doing all of these.
An Android under Php11k, I would choose the Galaxy 5 over other phones in the same price range like the Sony Ericsson X8 and the CM Nova. That Swype thing is something that I really enjoy using on a smartphone.
Samsung Galaxy 5 (i5503) Specs:
- 600 MHz processor
- Android OS, v2.1 (Eclair)
- 2.8″ QVGA TFT capacitive LCD (240 x 320)
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, DLNA
- HSDPA 7.2 Mbps
- Bluetooth 2.1
- 2MP FF w/o LED Flash
- 170MB internal memory with support for, microSD (1GB included, up to 16GB)
- 1200maH Li-On battery
- SRP: Php10,980